Monthly Archives: April 2015

Why My Daughter’s Baptism is Better Than Her Wedding Day

This past Sunday, I had the privilege of baptizing my baby girl. Well, she is seven (and a half, as she would say), so not so much a baby anymore. But being my first daughter, I often call her my baby girl. Baptizing my sweet little girl is an incredible perk of being a youth pastor, along with leftover pizza from youth nights. But just how special was this event in my daughter’s life?31edited

Could I dare say that this day was even more special than my daughter’s wedding day? I believe so. And here’s why. When my daughter was baptized, she was telling everyone she wanted to follow Jesus, and be identified as a follower of Christ. If/When she gets married, while it will be a tremendously joyous occasion, she is telling everyone in that room she will be following her husband in her marriage. See the difference?

Let me break it down a little further here. My ultimate goal as a parent is not to prepare my daughter to marry a nice, godly man. Sure, I pray for that regularly, but my ultimate goal is to prepare my daughter for a life lived for her Savior, Jesus Christ. And seeing my daughter in that white robe committing herself to Jesus overshadows seeing my daughter in a white dress committing herself to a man.

And maybe I should say it like this. I want my kids to be more excited about Jesus than they are about anything. And I should reflect that to my children. So accepting Jesus Christ should be celebrated more than high school graduation. Being baptized and committing to follow Christ should be more precious than winning the high school championship in __________, you will in the blank. You get what I am saying here?

Maybe it is time we take our kids out to dinner to celebrate their spiritual birthdays. Or make sure to invite as many family members as you can to come to their baptism. Mission trips, Christian camps, and enriching conferences should have a place in our budget over cell phones, new shoes for school, and violin lessons. Our desire to get our kids ready to go to church, should resemble the fervor with which we scramble and drive like crazy people to get to work on time.

Sure, the title of this blog was a little bit of shock value. But maybe we need a little shock to the heart to bring our priorities back in order. After all, it was Jesus that said in Luke 9:23-25:

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”

Reminds me of something I said Sunday…“Buried in the likeness of his death, raised in the likeness of his resurrection.” edit hug

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Explaining the Bible to Your Kids

Looking for a great way to explain the Bible to your kids?  Here’s a great place to start…

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5 Steps to Improving Your Small Group

Here are just 5 ways to improve your small group.  Simple, but effective ways to allow your small group to flourish…STRUCTURE

At a Home. It is just something about having small group in a home. It allows people to relax, open up, and get deeper in conversation. When my wife was on maternity leave, I hosted small group at the church. The teens were devastated. They loved coming to our home. In fact, there were some students that rarely came to small group before we hosted in our home. Now, they are not only regular attendees, but regular contributors in conversation and interaction. (Disclaimer: Nothing wrong with hosting small group at a church due to size of group or other issues)+

Small-er Groups for Prayer. First, don’t forget prayer. That’s a non-negotiable, and should not just be a “tack-on” at the end of small group. Second, it may work better if prayer was done in smaller groups. This allows for more detailed prayer requests, prohibits just one person from dominating the requests (you know this happens), and provided a more intimate prayer session. (Idea: If you are worried about not hearing all the requests, appoint a group leader to write down requests and hand to the small group leader for the main prayer list).

Shortened Lesson. Don’t cheapen or water-down the lesson, simply shorten the lesson. It is important to allow for discussion and prayer time within the small group. The leader needs to try to be consistent with this, especially if there are prayer and discussion leaders that have prepared as well. You do not want to discount their preparation.

Variety. Small groups typically is an eclectic group of people. So this requires two things: a variety of topics and a variety of teaching methods. For topics, there may be a need for parenting discussion, spiritual disciplines, Book of the Bible study…the list is endless, but continue to be diverse and creative. Also, especially if teaching is not your forte, be willing to use DVD studies, curriculum, or other outside sources to complement the small group teaching.

Food. Last, but certainly not least, food. Food is always a great way for life on life discussions to happen. In our group, we do a snack last, which allows for casual conversation and also intentional life change conversations to happen as well. Food has a way of bringing people together, which should be a goal of your small group.

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5 Ideas to Make a Mission Conference Go Well

MissionsConference538x303Give, Give, Give. Take the entire month prior to the mission conference and collect a special offering for the missionaries. Give a goal amount for each missionary/missionary couple to be given on the day of the conference.

Practical Gifts. I’ve heard stories of missionary conferences where their gifts are not useful, or even insulting. Why not give them gifts they can truly use? Give them gas cards, gift cards to restaurants, and grocery gift cards. These are things they need, not a Precious Moments calendar or a basket full of used Veggie Tales VHS tapes.

Short & Sweet. While I can see the benefit of a week-long conference, it lends itself to exhausting your people and the missionaries. The argument could be made to have that week as an opportunity to get to know the missionaries. Well, this can still be done in a shorter time span. For example, have a dinner for the missionaries on Saturday night and invite all the board members and their wives. Then, after the conference on Sunday morning, host a potluck dinner for your entire church family. This will provide ample time to get to know the missionaries.  Saturday night to Sunday afternoon is a reasonable time frame for a conference, and people leave refreshed and refueled, rather than ragged and run-down.

Children’s Conference. Host a children’s mission conference during the adult conference for the younger grades (invite older grades to join adults). This could be hosted by skilled children ministry volunteers, or by missionaries skilled in teaching children.

Team Effort. Form a mission conference team that divides and conquers. The organization of meals, gifts, and missionary correspondence takes more than just one person. Form a team that is passionate about missions, and divide up the tasks based on their skill set. Typically, it is not hard to find people who love missionaries in your church.

 

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